From homelessness to happiness - shelter helps family with new home

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Antoine Parsons is showing us his family's new home.

A happy home - any home - a far cry from where he was in November - he had left Tennessee with his wife and son for Michigan and a fresh start - but relatives here only had enough room for Arvanda and Andrew.

Antoine needed somewhere to go - and that where South Oakland Shelter came in.
"If it wasn't for South Oakland Shelter, I don't know what I would do," Parsons said.

SOS is a partnership of churches, synagogues and mosques providing shelter and so much more.

"When somebody comes to us and they're either on the street or in the shelter we want to get them secure in a place they can call home, in order to from there address the other barriers they're facing in their lives," said Ryan Hertz, president of South Oakland Shelter.

Hertz is president and CEO of SOS.

"We serve between two and three hundred people a year just in the shelter program but we serve thousands of people when it comes to helping to coordinate services - people call us from all types of situations," he said.

And so when Antoine came to the program, they knew just how to help him. He helped himself too, looking for work and a place to live to get his family back together.

"It was rough. They told me to stick with it, you're going forward now - you can't look backwards anymore," Parsons said. "So I've been looking forward ever since I’ve been here."

He got a part time job, SOS helped with a security deposit and rent then Humble Design decorated the home, complete with that artwork Antoine made when he was homeless. 

He loves his family and what they're building here together. Andrew, 6, even has his own bedroom where he sleeps with their rescue dog, Midnight.

"He's a happy kid - every time I see him smile it makes me smile," Parsons said.

And he's loving life from homeless to hopeful, stable, and happy. Those weeks at the shelter were his springboard to the fresh start he was looking for.

"It was a blessing that I got out of the shelter and I a place," Parsons said. "I came a long way from Tennessee to Michigan. I love Michigan now. 

South Oakland Shelter has a major fundraiser run Sunday, Aug. 5 at St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield. They are hoping to raise $60,000 - they are close to $40,000. 

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